Preparing to develop championship players
The following is an excerpt from my book Coaching Champions For Life:
In reading this book to this point, my coaching philosophy is clear – coaches who want to get the most out of their team must first mentor the person, next the athlete, and lastly the player. Therefore, when preparing for every season, in general, and specifically when preparing for every practice, the starting point is how am I going to design my program and practice sessions to make my coaches and team better people? If you accomplish anything during your season, this should be your highest priority.
Why? Well, first because it is the only thing that matters to Him. Second, because when practice and the season are done, what you are sending out into the world are people who represent what your program has taught them about integrity, about character, about life. Third, connecting with the person will open the pathways to improving the athlete and, ultimately, the player.
You are not coaching your players to simply help them learn the fundamentals of your sport. You are coaching them to be Champions for Life.
In Chapter One of this book I detailed the methodology for teaching life lessons within the game for beyond the game. Coaches should survey their team about what recurring issues in life are most relevant to them at this time and then use the same Preparation, Reaction, and Action format they use to design their practices to design life lesson discussions and role play.
Therefore, you must plan and design your practices to specifically instruct your players on all of the components of being a well-balanced, healthy person of high moral character and integrity, not just to be a good player in your sport.
Do not leave anything to chance or inference.
Although the specifics of this chapter and the next will involve baseball practices, the basic concepts and philosophies will be generally applicable to all sports and to players of all ages.